Western Australia was established as a British colony in the 1820s, but like the rest of Australia was inhabited for over 40000 years by indigenous Australians with many tribal groups and languages. Early European explorers from several countries had landed and explored the long coastline in the 1600s and 1700s.
Perth on the Swan River became the seat of government and later capital city of Western Australia. Fremantle and Albany were also settled early. Originally founded like South Australia as a convict free settlement, economic difficulties saw the need for WA to become a penal colony between 1850 and 1868.
Perth offers tourists plenty to do and see. Beaches are some 30 minutes from the CBD, and its retail centres; Kings Park - one of the largest city parks in the world, Botanic Gardens, the sounds of the Swan Bells, the Perth Mint, fine restaurants. Sporting interests include winning the America’s Cup in the 1980s, the successful Hopman Cup; sporting arenas include the WACA & Perth Stadium.
North from Perth are towns such as Geraldton serving as a hub for road and train traffic bringing goods from further inland. Tourist attractions such as Monkey Mia, Rottnest Island, The Pinnacles, Shark Bay and Ningaloo Reef are found on the Coral Coast.
The Pilbara area includes Mount Tom Price, Karatha, Port Hedland, Newman and the Karinjini National Park, Right through Northern Australia can be found indigenous rock art dating back thousands of years.
The Kimberley Region of Western Australia holds many wonders: the Bungle Bungles, Wave Rock, Broome and its pearling history, Kununurra and the Ord Irrigation Scheme and Lake Argyll, Wyndham. Northern Western Australia has huge cattle stations. Halls Creek – the site of a brief gold rush in 1885 was relocated in the 1950s due to lack of water, and there are still ruins to explore.
In the 1880s gold was discovered at Kalgoorlie and Coolgardie (east of Perth) and this opened up the area towards the South Australian border. Trains from Sydney to Perth opened more avenues for settlers. Known as the Golden Outback, this huge area also includes Mt Magnet – another goldrush town. This area stretches from the Coral coast to South Australia’s border and from the Pilbara to Esperance in the South where in Winter and Spring, beautiful beaches rugged coastlines take a back seat to the Hump Back whales in the Great Australian Bight.
Albany, Bunbury and Busselton are cities in the south west and attract many tourists with whale watching , giant forests with sky high walkways, the wine areas of Margaret River, The Stirling Range National Park where travellers can be overwhelmed by the natural beauty of Western Australia’s wildflowers.